Friday, December 17, 2010

Chapter 20

Back to work.

In this short chapter, Frans Laarmans returns to his old job. He is hailed by everyone, and he settles into his old desk and routine. It becomes clear that he was well liked and had friendships there.

I found this chapter unusual in a way. In the stories I have seen in this vein, the protagonist either goes straight to the top of his new profession or sets a new record for depths of ruin. Willem Elsschot takes a more realistic approach. While the cheese venture didn't go well, some sales were made. The old job may have been a dream crusher, but it wasn't so bad that he couldn't go back.

Dick Matena's drawings show what has changed and stayed the same since 1933. The office interiors at General Marine look like any modern office in an old building. Just add computers, and you're in 2010. The exteriors are another matter. Outside, there is the heavy cast iron, steel and brickwork of old industrial Europe.

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